Southern Historical Association Junior Scholars Workshop

Selena Sanderfer's picture
The Junior Scholars Workshop is a program to support and encourage advanced graduate students and recent graduates working in the field of southern history, as well as to provide a space for SHA members to connect outside of the annual meeting. As such, we encourage attendees to chat with one another or say hello to friends. All attendees are also welcome to ask questions in the chat as well as on camera.

The Southern Historical Association is excited to invite you to the next zoom gathering of our new monthly Junior Scholars Workshop on Thursday, July 15 at 3 CST/4 EST. The workshop will feature a pre-circulated paper by Dr. John Bardes (LSU), “The Once and Future Slave Workhouse: Coercion and Captivity in New Orleans, 1878 – 1965.”

After a short introduction from Dr. Bardes, we will hear brief comments from Dr. Edward Baptist (Cornell University) and Dr. Mary Ellen Curtin (American University), with the rest of the hour reserved for questions and answers from the audience.

Here is a brief abstract of the work from Dr. Bardes: Histories of American imprisonment have suggested that with Emancipation, the Southern penal landscape underwent a complete revolution, as former slaveholders sought to recreate slavery through the penal system. This narrative misrepresents what happened in the urban South, where slave workhouse systems, directed at fugitive and resistant enslaved people, already existed. Often, these slave workhouses survived emancipation: reorganized and repurposed for the torture and coercion of Black wageworkers. By examining the evolution of New Orleans’ former slave workhouse from Reconstruction to Jim Crow, my essay reconsiders how slavery’s collapse restructured state violence within the urban South. I argue that instead of initiating an abrupt transition from privately-inflicted violence to state-managed violence, emancipation within the urban South provoked adjustments and adaptations to preexisting penal systems originally developed for the coercion of the enslaved. In these adjustments and adaptions lie overlooked origins of state coercion and violence under Jim Crow.

Interested attendees should complete this short google form ( to receive the pre-circulated paper about a week ahead of our meeting. Attendees will also receive the zoom link in that message. 

Questions or suggestions? Email the organizers: Steve Prince (, Selena Sanderfer Doss (, or Kelly Kennington (

 Upcoming Workshops:

 August 19 – Mandy Cooper, UNC-Greensboro, “My Family, White and Black”: Slavery and the Language of Family; comments by Stephanie Jones-Rogers and Tyler Parry

 September 15 (*Wednesday) – Miller Wright, Rice University, Rumors of the Westo: Native Migration, Slaving, and Coalescence in the Seventeenth-Century South; comments by Josh Piker and Alejandra Dubcovsky

October 21 – Abena Boakyewa-Ansah, Vanderbilt University, "Torch in Hand": Black Women AMA Missionaries to the Freedpeople and Their Visions of Freedom; comments by Abigail Cooper and Thavolia Glymph

November 18 – Shari Williams, Auburn University, Title and comments, TBA